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Almost half of shoppers and four in five retailers opting out of Black Friday 2016: studies

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Almost half of shoppers say they’ll be opting out of Black Friday 2016 – and four in five retailers will follow their example, according to two new studies out today.

Retail optimisation specialist Periscope by McKinsey questioned 1,570 people in the US and UK and found that 48% of UK shoppers have no plans to take part in Black Friday, as do 51% in the US.

Some 42% of UK shoppers said that the event was a marketing trick, used by retailers to convince them they are getting a good deal, while 31% of US shoppers agreed – and most of those who will buy, said they would do so online rather than in stores. Some 42% of UK shoppers (US, 39%) said they would do all or most of their shopping online, while 4% of those questioned in the UK (US, 7%) said they would mostly do it in stores. That may be because 13% (US) and 9% (UK) believe shops are “just too chaotic”.

Commenting on the findings, Channie Mize, global general manager for retail at Periscope said: “The research highlights that consumers consider the Black Friday experience stressful and inconvenient compared to shopping online. The physical store is not dead, but struggling. Retailers need to find new attractive ways to draw consumers into their stores, using data-driven insights to inform the buying, assortment and promotional activities to maximum effect across all channels, giving customers the great experience they crave.”

Meanwhile, Royal Mail commissioned YouGov to question 409 senior retail decision makers. It found that even though a minority one in five retailers will take an active role in the pre-Christmas shopping event that first started in the US and falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving – this year, November 25, 45% expect nonetheless that they’ll see almost half of pre-Christmas sales take place on that date.

Of those retailers that do plan to take part, says the Royal Mail, 78% are planning to cut prices by up to 50%, while many will start discounting in the week leading up to Black Friday and into the following week, which starts with Cyber Monday, previously known as the biggest pre-Christmas shopping peak of the year.

Nearly a quarter of retailers that do take part say they’ll offer free gifts to shoppers who spend over a certain amount. Nearly one in five say they’ll offer free shipping on all purchases. One in 10 will discount brand new products so that they can generate interest in the products and in their business.

To prepare for Black Friday, around 20% of participating retailers have extended their working hours, 11% have increased advertising and 10% have taken on seasonal staff.

Some 35% of the retailers questioned say sales this year will equal those of last year, while 12% expect a better year and 6% think they’ll be lower.

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